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Regional issues

46 - European Neighbourhood Policy in MENA region

Grade: C+
Unity 4/5
Resources 2/5
Outcome 3/10
Total 9/20

Implementation of the ENP continued but failed to impact on the major challenges in the changing southern Mediterranean region.

Following the review of the ENP in 2011, Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle told the European Parliament in October 2013 that the objectives of the ENP in the southern neighbourhood were implementation and delivery. He highlighted the importance of political engagement, improved access to markets, better mobility, and strong and consistent focus on reforms. At an operational level, Europeans led by the Commission made some progress on these objectives. “More for more” came to life in the announcements in November of €150 million of SPRING (Support for Partnership, Reforms and Inclusive Growth) funds. Tunisia received €55 million in recognition of its apparent commitment to tackling the obstacles on a genuine path towards democracy; Morocco received €48 million; Jordan and Lebanon €21 million each; and Libya €5 million. In terms of market access, DCFTA negotiations began with Morocco and preliminary discussions were almost completed with Tunisia, though it will be some time before deals are concluded.

Migration partnerships remained a major stumbling block, with many member states concerned about the implications of increased inflows to Europe, especially after the tragedies at Lampedusa in October. While an EU–Morocco mobility partnership was signed in June 2013, this only included a few member states willing to co-operate (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the UK) and focused on managing borders rather than facilitating movement in a way that is beneficial for the Moroccan economy. However, at a political level, it is hard to detect the impact of the ENP in the MENA region. Overall, funds are limited compared to other investors and EU member states were unable to unite around how policy should respond to more complex challenges. There was no agreement on the idea of “less for less” or on how to react to the military coup in Egypt in July, and the ENP has provided no guidance as to how to support the broader region on the fallout from the Syrian conflict.